It's funny how one thing can lead to another. In October last year I paid one of my infrequent visits to a Fell Running Forum and came across the following message that had been posted for my attention several weeks (or maybe months?) previously....
"As a new VW70 (d.o.b.1942) I was pleased to discover you (as VM80) on the Forums. I very much hope to be still running & racing in 10 years time. At present I'm trending towards 5k Parkruns. I'd love to read your news. Best wishes, Alexandra".
|Alexandra.....who started all this....|
And so began a chain of occasional correspondence exchanging news, views and ideas amongst which came Alex's recommendation of a series of 5K Sunday morning runs in the Otley Chevin Forest Park - RunSunday. Her idea appealed to me for several reasons; (a) because unlike our local Park Runs they begin at a more civilised time, 10.30am rather than 9am and on Sundays rather than Saturdays: (b) they're far less crowded, up to 40 runners as opposed to 400: (c) the rough undulating forest trails are preferable to the manicured tarmac paths around Greenhead Park. So yesterday, after a nine month incubation period in my none too fertile brain, the idea at last became reality and I set off, along with my wonderful partner, to take part in Run No 50. The run starts where two trails cross at a height of 800ft just over a kilometre into the forest. There are no 'facilities' but, as the organiser told me, there are plenty of trees! Baggage with spare clothes, etc. can be left at the Start/Finish area where there is always a marshall to keep a watchful eye on things.
|All smiles with an MV80 course record after the run......|
After a short briefing and description of the course by the Starter we were sent on our way, my wonderful partner and I taking up the rear. But not for long. After an easy week of training I was feeling quite fresh and soon began to move through the field at what felt like a good maintainable pace. It was, for 1¼ mile until the 'killer hill' which had only been mentioned to us a few minutes before the race began. We'd toiled up this hill on our way to the Start thinking "surely, we wont have to run up here". But we did - to the tune of around 100ft of ascent in ¼ mile - and that's steep! I changed down a gear and felt quite chuffed after keeping the rhythm going and emerging at the top barely out of breath. I now knew what to expect second time round and it held no fears. The second lap was a shorter one throughout which I still felt fresh and comfortable, particularly during a brief rain shower that cooled me down nicely. It wasn't a race, as such, so I wasn't pushing it as hard as I might. Alex, who'd planted this idea in my head the previous year, was marshalling at a bend in the trail and called encouragement as I passed. Then it was along the fast level straight and up the 'killer hill' for the final time and into the Finish funnel.
My watch said 27.57 which was 17 seconds slower than the time I'd predicted in my diary - undoubtedly
|New LV65 record holder - by 26 seconds....|
because of that killer hill no-one had cared to mention until just before the Start! But I was happy with that. It gave me a benchmark, something to work on, encouragement to train harder and hopefully improve. So far as I know, no man over 80 has ever run this before, so I automatically became their first MV80 course record holder. And to make our journey even more worthwhile, my wonderful partner became the new LV65 record holder on this new course, having finished just 26 seconds ahead of Lyn Eden, a previous course record holder. So thanks for the tip off Alex, and for your company in the Cheerful Chilli after our run. All in all, it was a pretty good day that called for a wee celebration later that evening. But as for that other idea of yours, the one about alcohol free wine, I reckon that's pretty much a non-starter!